Weekend Forecast for July 18-20, 2008

By Reagen Sulewski

July 18, 2008

He'd probably be fine if someone would just give him a hug.

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Destined to be lost in the shuffle, yet astoundingly successful in its own right is Mamma Mia!, the adaptation of the Broadway musical based on ABBA songs. Forget the Joker, this, my friends, is what pure evil looks like.

Amanda Seyfried (most notable for Veronica Mars) stars as a young woman in Greece who is about to get married, with one problem - she doesn't know who who's going to walk her down the aisle. Her mother (Meryl Streep), you see, had a bit of fun back in the day, and her father could be any of three men - Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth or Stellan Skaarsgard (who gets the "Professor and Maryanne" treatment in the advertising for this film). All three arrive for the wedding, as neither of them are too sure, either, with old wounds opened, and everyone breaking into ABBA songs for some reason.

Your enjoyment of Mamma Mia! will depend on whether you enjoy the music the Swedish '70s pop supergroup, or whether you consider the use of their songs to be a war crime. There's not a lot of middle ground here.

This musical has essentially become the new Grease and should be effective counter programming to Batman, the way My Best Friend's Wedding was to Batman & Robi.. wait, sorry, that movie never existed - anyway, counter-programming. Expect a predominantly female (and I'm not judging, but also gay) audience for this film, which can make a decent impact this weekend. A lot of people like ABBA, apparently, but then, a lot of people like mayonnaise too. Look for about $28 million this weekend.

Thirdly, we have a children's film to enter the marketplace, called Space Chimps. Really. Space. Chimps. I mean, my God. Andy Samberg (it just gets worse, doesn't it) stars as the voice of Ham III, the grandson of the original astronaut chimp, sent into space for some reason that I can't really imagine mattering. Poorly animated adventures ensue, and kids get dumber for having watched this. I'm a bit boggled that films like this pass for theatrical releases these days, but then the woman who laughed like a hyena at this trailer can't be the only one of her kind. It's too depressing to think about, really. I'll say $7 million for the film, and hope that people have better sense.


Hellboy II just eked out a victory at the box office last weekend with $34.5 million to Hancock's $32 million, but even without a first place finish, it would have been relatively impressive. As a sequel to a second-tier superhero film, $34.5 million is pretty impressive and basically ensures that Guillermo del Toro gets to make whatever films he wants for the next while. With Batman out there, this doesn't just fall off the cliff, it drives 90 miles an hour on fire off it, and should see a weekend of $15 million this weekend.

Hancock suffers a lot in comparison as well, though relying a bit more on humor than other super hero movies, and especially in comparison to The Dark Knight, it might stand a bit of a chance. Still, I see only $17 million in its cards for its third weekend, though that'll bring its overall total above $200 million.

Journey to the Center of the Earth loses its reign for the biggest spectacle of the weekend, with its 3-D effects losing out to IMAX Batman. However, it did manage $21 million last weekend with a pretty lame ad campaign, so that's something. Consider this a warm up for Brendan Fraser's next film this summer, The Mummy 3. Look for about $12 million this weekend.

For a Pixar film, Wall-E has curiously not been able to use word-of-mouth to its advantage, dropping from $63 million to $18.8 million in two weeks. It's surprising, in that other Pixar films have been able to ride for weeks and weeks on it, but in this case, it may just be that word got out quickly and caused an equivalent fanboy rush. I see an $11 million weekend here, which will move it to about $185 million total, but the $250 million totals of a lot of their other films don't seem to be in the cards.

Forecast: Weekend of July 18-20, 2008
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 The Dark Knight 4,366 New 122.6
2 Mamma Mia! 2,976 New 28.1
3 Hancock 3,776 -189 16.3
4 Hellboy II: The Golden Army 3,212 +8 15.7
5 Journey to the Center of the Earth 2,830 +19 12.1
6 Wall-E 3,310 -539 11.5
7 Space Chimps 2,511 New 6.8
8 Wanted 2,436 -721 5.7
9 Get Smart 2,135 -951 4.9
10 Kung Fu Panda 1,505 -1,199 2.9

Continued:       1       2



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